by Lisa McKenzie
If there's one thing that most people agree on, it's the fact that babies are cute. Not only are the little darlings cute, but they also seem to spread cheer wherever they go. They also tend to have quite an effect on adults, too--even adults who wouldn't normally pay much attention to them. It is particularly so if the baby in question sports a bow and arrow and an eagle eye for his mark...
Steve McGarrett snapped shut his briefcase and surveyed his desk once more to see if he'd forgotten anything. It had been a wild day, a Friday the thirteenth, and while he wasn't the slightest bit superstitious, the usual pranks for a day like this found their way into the office. It was the unplanned, though, that made Steve chuckle. The head of the Requisitions department getting his hand caught in the Coke machine down in Records was a beautiful piece of work, paramedics and all. He shook his head, smiling, picked up his briefcase, and headed out of the office.
"Bye, Boss. Better keep your head low this weekend," said Jenny as Steve walked past her desk.
"Oh? Why's that?" he asked lightly, pausing to choose the last four red M&M's from the candy dish on Jenny's desk. He popped them into his mouth. "Who do you know that's looking for me?"
Jenny stood up, readying a stack of folders for filing. "Oh, don't play dumb, now. You know tomorrow is Valentine's Day," she said with a knowing look.
"Is it? I hadn't given it any thought," Steve said, eyebrows raised. "Don't worry about me. I'm staying close to home this weekend," he assured her, resuming his pace.
"Well, it won't do you much good if you get hit," Jenny called after him.
Steve turned at the door of Five-O headquarters, half grinning. "Honey, I've had more bullets dug out of me than I care to remember. If Cupid wants my attention, then he'll have to trade in his bow for a bazooka," he said, giving a short wave of farewell as he strode out the door toward the majestic staircase of the Iolani Palace.
What a day--what a week it had been. With all the activity, Steve knew he was lucky that he was able to tie up a lot of loose ends, enabling him to have his first weekend in months that wouldn't require a trip to the office. His first impulse was to head for the marina, but an exhausting couple of months made him long for a quiet weekend, puttering around his beach house, and at least for the next couple of days, living the life of a beach bum.
Before he realized it, he was inside his car, easing it into traffic. He wouldn't have seen his tail if he'd glanced in his rearview mirror; gods and goddesses seldom want to be seen. At one point Steve thought he heard laughter, like a child's giggle, but he shrugged it off as being ridiculous, which, of course, it was.
Much later that night, just before midnight, Steve stood on his balcony watching the
tide go out. The moon was full and cast its silvery sheen on the sand, creating the
illusion of a dusky daylight. A warm breeze rustled the curtains behind him, and he sipped
his coffee contentedly. This is why I settled here, he thought, taking in the beauty of
the scene with every sense. As his eyes panned from one end of the beach to the other, he
caught sight of a figure moving in his direction. Stopping and starting, the
solitary form made its way slowly. When it was almost to the beach house, Steve was able
to ascertain that the figure was that of a woman, slim, with long dark hair. She obviously
was looking for something
in the sand, her steps stopping at irregular intervals.
The smallest of the Olympians had waited until midnight chimed, then he drew back his bow. He had two prime targets, both loners. With his aim true he fired his first shaft, which immediately found its mark.
"Umph!" Steve grunted, startled at a sudden pain below his shoulder. The pain was sharp but momentary, with no more twinges. He exhaled and noticed that he had spilled his coffee on his sleeve. He padded into the kitchen to wipe his sleeve and his watch, noting that it was now past midnight. He washed his hands, dried them and quickly moved back to his observation point. She was still there, by now directly in front of him. She didn't see him; she was still searching the sand in the moonlight. Steve was halfway down the deck stairs before he knew what he was doing. There she was, not 10 feet away, oblivious to his presence. Slowly, but with determination, he approached her.
"Oh!" she cried, suddenly bending slightly.
"Are you all right?" Steve was at her side immediately.
Startled, she turned to face him. For a moment she said nothing, then, "Yes, I'm--I'm OK. Just a stitch," she replied, a little unsure of the situation.
"I saw you walking on the beach. That's my house up there," Steve pointed back at the glowing windows. "You looked like you were searching for something. I thought perhaps I could help."
She smiled now, a bashful smile. The more Steve looked at her, the more he liked what he saw. Here n the moonlight she was dazzling. Her light linen dress fluttered softly in the breeze, revealing from time to time her slender shape. He couldn't make out the color of her eyes, but they sparkled beneath long lashes in a way that bespoke good things to come. And her hair--long curls falling below her waist--Steve was close to being overcome. She spoke at last:
"I hate to tell you what I'm looking for, you'll think me a fool." She smiled again, revealing white, straight teeth. Was that perfume he smelled?
He swallowed hard, then said, "I think not. It must be important, for you to be out at this time of night."
The wind had its way with his hair, brushing just enough of it onto his forehead to catch the woman's attention. She stared at it, barely able to keep her fingers away from it. Her mouth went dry. "Shoes," she whispered.
"What? Shoes, you said?" Steve's cop brain that had solved so many intricate cases with incisive logic was gone, gone somewhere in the distance, laughing at him. He stared at her stupidly. "Shoes?" he croaked again.
"Yes--I was--I can't find them. I took a long walk, several miles up the beach, and put them down somewhere. I lost track of the time...I've been looking for them..." her voice trailed off. "I think I must be lost, too," she finished, looking at him full in the face.
Somehow Steve managed to have the coherence to say, "You can't be lost if you have a name." He saw a shadow of concern pass over her lovely face. "Don't worry. I'm a cop," he said softly.
She relaxed and said, "Pamela. Pamela Collins." She gazed up into eyes that were normally enigmatic, revealing little, but were now warm and sultry as the air wafting across the sand. It was difficult to breathe. She opened her mouth to speak again, and stammered, "I should be getting--back. I can look for them later."
"Tomorrow. You'll come tomorrow," Steve said, more as a statement of fact than a question.
Pamela tried to turn but was unable to take her eyes from his face. "Yes," she murmured, and then could turn from him. She started her long walk back down the beach. Steve watched her fluid gait, drinking in every particular. She turned once; their eyes locked for a few moments and once again, he caught a whiff of her perfume. She resumed her walk and was soon lost in the distance.
That night, vivid dreams of white linen and musky perfume filled Steve McGarrett's sleep. Her smile, her eyes, her hair--they all came back to him with an intensity that was almost palpable. He awoke just before dawn with her name on his lips, and rose immediately to begin his vigil. He showered quickly, dressed, and brought out his breakfast to eat on the deck; a sentinel with eyes for nothing but his Lady of the Moonlight.
By 8:00 that morning, Dan Williams was up and out of his apartment. He had a long list of errands to run, and he wanted to finish well before noon. Then he could relax, if a round robin of three sets of tennis with a few of the guys could be termed "relaxing."
His first stop was the dry cleaner. He'd put his best suit, his brown one, severely to the test last week with a few spots of taco sauce dripped on it and a liberal dousing of coffee. The buzzer under the welcome mat brought a girl to the counter.
"Hi. Dan Williams to pick up a suit left here on the 10th," he said, his eyes noting that he hadn't seen this girl before, and that she was worth seeing.
"One moment, please," said the girl as she disappeared among the racks of clothes. Danny heard a brief murmur of voices, then the girl reappeared carrying his suit, with a tentative look on her face. "Mr. Williams--" she began. "I'm so sorry. The stains on your suit required re-treating, and--there are some holes."
Danny's mouth dropped open in astonishment. "What? That's my best suit!" He was incredulous, and far too distracted to feel the breezy effect of wings passing close by, or to see the indentation on the goosedown comforter folded neatly on the edge of the counter.
The girl, thoroughly distressed now, began to apologize and deny responsibility all in the same breath. There was an audible twang and Danny jumped suddenly. "Geez," he said, turning around expectantly.
"Yes--?" asked the girl, certain of more disaster. She gasped then at what must have been a pinch, and glanced sharply behind her. On the counter, a naughty Cupid covered his eyes momentarily, giggled, and rose in search of another target.
Meanwhile, Danny had turned again to face the girl and to voice in no uncertain terms his displeasure over the damage to his favorite suit, when he looked at her, as if for the first time. His blue eyes wide, he took in her face, memorizing each feature. She, in turn, was also dumbstruck, gazing mindlessly at the handsome young man on the other side of the counter. Danny struggled to speak. "Do you mind telling me--your name?"
"Yes, no. Susan," she answered, trying to clear her head, but unable to stop staring at him.
"Susan," Danny began. He loved the sound of it, Susan, Susan... "When are you off work?"
She closed her eyes in an attempt to block out the image of her fingers in his curly hair. "Ten. I'm off at ten." She smiled at him. "I'm only covering for someone else until then."
"Do you like picnics?" Dan asked, as plans for the day fell rapidly into place in his mind. She nodded. "Then I'll be here at ten. We'll eat on the beach," he said eagerly, backing up toward the door. His smile was at once enthusiastic and promising. Her smile answered his and Danny turned, full throttle, intent on gathering everything he needed. An hour and a half later found him ready, sitting on the hood of his car, counting the minutes until he could call for her. The minutes passed, and he vaulted from the car, eyes fixed on the door to the dry cleaners, his face betraying every hope for the day.
Ten o'clock found Steve poised at the foot of the stairs to his deck, his eyes riveted to Pamela's approaching form. He couldn't remember when he'd ever felt like this, almost drunk with anticipation. All of his caution, all of his distrust had been banished, floating out to sea with last night's tide. She saw him now and smiled. He watched her: her dress today was a jungle print, full of browns and blacks, slim and form-fitting, with a tie at the waist. Her long curls were held at bay by a matching scarf acting as a headband. Steve held tightly to the railing. Her hand brushed away a stray curl that had blown across her face. If he had any last vestige of Steve McGarrett the cop, the loner, then that stray tendril was the end of it. He returned her smile and held out his hand. She took it, and together they began to walk. Neither of them said much; their pace was unhurried and even. In a break in the row of homes fronting the beach lay a grassy, shaded spot. It was here that Steve led Pamela, and it was here that he reached out to cup her face in his hands. He saw the color of her eyes now, green ringed with blue, the color of the sea he was drowning in. How long did they stand there, so close and intense? He didn't know, but at last her hand found the nape of his neck, and she drew his head down to hers.
Duke Lukela also had his share of chores to accomplish, but the biggest of those was the one he disliked the most--grocery shopping. He detested the crowds on Saturdays, and mentally castigated himself every time he postponed it until the end of the week. He also hated going after work, so he put the job off as long as he could while he became crabbier and crabbier. This week looked to be typical; there were the harried mothers, crying children and old folks keeping a snail's pace. Duke grabbed a cart and headed quickly for the produce section. As his luck would have it, one of the wheels of his cart squeaked and the cart itself listed strongly to the right. Duke rolled his eyes and cursed inwardly.
He made it through the produce and food items cleanly enough. The last thing on his list was a large bag of cat food, needed to feed the growing army of strays that congregated at his back door in the evenings. Where was it? Ah, next aisle, to the right. Duke prepared to swing his cart around the corner, but just as he was executing the maneuver, a sharp stab hit him in the back. "Ow!" he exclaimed, and saw too late that his cart had gotten away from him and was on a collision course with another cart coming from the opposite direction. The two carts banged loudly into each other. "Ow!" a female voice cried.
Duke had a momentary vision of neck braces and a lawsuit as he darted around the corner. The carts had remained upright, thankfully. Then he saw her, the most striking creature he had ever seen. Her right hand rested on her left shoulder, and her mouth was still open following her cry. Her blond hair just touched her shoulders and her clear blue eyes held his captive. Duke found his voice finally. "Are you hurt?" he inquired.
"No, I'm fine," the woman replied, looking away in an attempt to gather her composure. A ripple of soft laughter caught Duke's ear.
"Did you say something?" he wanted to know, standing closer to her than the situation warranted.
She gazed up into his earnest face. She could only vaguely remember the lecture she had given to her sister that very morning about men and their universal worthlessness. Here was a man, an attractive man, who had only slightly wronged her and was now the picture of concern and consideration. The block of ice in her chest became a puddle. Duke saw the change in her expression and smiled.
"I said--I said that you needn't be concerned. I'm quite all right, really," she smiled back.
"It was the cat food that did me in," Duke deadpanned, and they both laughed. Now the moment had arrived when they would part, he in one direction, she in another. The thought of her walking out of that store and out of his life set Duke's heart to pounding, almost in a panic. She smiled shyly again and began to steer her cart around where he stood. She couldn't say anything else to him--she didn't know him, she didn't know him--
"Wait," Duke softly said in her ear as she passed him. "Don't say goodbye." She looked up at him again. Duke suddenly felt a rush of eloquence: "It could've been anyone else of a million people I ran into today, but it was you. This was supposed to be. We can't let this moment go by." He couldn't stop himself, he didn't want to stop himself. She hung onto his every word, half unable to comprehend their meaning. Her look so encouraged him that Duke dropped her hand that he was holding, and to the amazement of the onlookers, he took her in his arms and kissed her. She knew she should push him away, but no part of her would cooperate. She trembled beneath his kiss, and when Duke lifted his face, he whispered "Come with me" in her ear.
There were no "buts" forthcoming. Trisha Scott had no objections to being led off by this handsome Hawaiian, he without his groceries, she without hers. She snuggled up to Duke as if by habit when he closed the car door, which prompted another kiss. Just when she thought they were in serious danger of not leaving the parking lot, He started the car, and the two drove away without thought for food; their hunger was of another sort.
The midafternoon sun shone down on the languid couple watching the pounding surf. Danny sat, arms resting on his drawn-up knees. "Ah, that's the spot," he murmured, dropping down his head. Susan smiled and continued rubbing his back until he seemed completely relaxed. She stopped, sitting back on her heels. Danny's hand shot back, grabbing hers and pulling her forward. At last, Susan was able to play with the curls in Danny's hair. Her own light brown tresses were temptation enough for Danny, but he didn't linger there. His lips found hers quickly as her arms wrapped around his neck. The picnic lunch had been nothing compared to the salt he still tasted on her skin from their earlier swim. Suddenly, he didn't feel tired anymore.
An occasional passerby cast a mildly curious glance toward the blue blanket halfway hidden behind the rocks, but a young couple only aware of each other was nothing new to these sandy beaches. The sky, the waves and the rocks held their peace; there were no intrusions into that warm, softly-spoken world where there is only room for two.
When Chin Ho Kelly answered the phone that morning, he had no idea that his cousin's damp basement would require a whole day's work on it. Chin wearily loaded his toolbox into the trunk of his car, and after saying goodbye again to Lu and his wife, he climbed into the car and began an uneventful trip home. It was nearing sunset and Chin shook his head again when he thought of the wasted day. His wife and children would welcome him home with a burst of cacophony, and by bedtime he would be ready for the eight hours' sleep that only weekends could afford. "Busy, busy," he said under his breath, and chuckled. Noisy or not, it was always good to be home. He pulled into the driveway of the Kelly home and trudged to the door. That's funny, he thought; the house is dark.
The unseen, cherub-faced deity beside Chin smiled thoughtfully. The arrow deep in Chin's chest was still there; a little dulled by the years, true, but it was there all the same. No need to take aim again; all Chin required was a little tug on the string...
Zing! went the string with enough force to make Chin cough. He looked around in some confusion, then opened the front door. A faint glow led him into the living room, where several candles warmed the room with their light. The house was quiet, much too quiet to be the Kelly residence. Chin turned to peep into the boys' bedroom. He saw that it was dark, too, and as he pulled the door shut, he heard a rustle behind him.
"No, don't turn around," a feminine whisper breathed in his ear. Two arms fastened around his waist. "My sister took the kids for the night, all night," came the whisper again. Chin's face lit up into a smile, and he reached around to pull his wife in front of him. His eyes widened when his hand only found warm skin, perfumed in his favorite scent. Mrs. Kelly giggled softly and took Chin by the hand. A delighted Cupid just stopped short of clapping as the two passed his perch on the banister.
The small, grassy nook had given way to Steve's beach house. There, Steve and Pamela lay quietly watching the outer world turn orange in the sun's waning light. Pamela's mind was working. We have to talk--we really need to talk, she thought. There was so much that hadn't been said. She recalled that her flight would be leaving the next morning at six o'clock. These last three weeks had been so ordinary, despite their being spent in paradise. And then, on the last day of her vacation--this. She had to go, she knew. But how could she? How could she leave him behind when she had only just found him? She sighed heavily. It was so hard to think.
Steve noticed the change in her breathing and knew she was awake. He raised himself on his elbow and placed his other hand on her waist. He bent his head to kiss the curve of her neck, and her heart jumped at his touch. With the lightest pressure his hand turned her toward him. Pamela searched the face above hers with her eyes as her hand traced a line from his cheek to his jaw. He caught her hand and kissed it. She saw in his eyes a tenderness that she had missed before, and she touched his face again. His kiss was so soft and gentle that a tear escaped from the corner of her eye. Steve's lips were there to recover it, and she clung to him like there was no tomorrow.
A brief two hours later, she stood with her hand on the doorknob, looking one last time at the sleeping man. His eyelashes were dark against his cheeks, and his chest rose and fell rhythmically to his breathing. "Goodbye," she whispered, moving to re-enter the world of reality, where for her and Steve, there really was no tomorrow.
Somewhere in the distance a factory whistle announced the ending of one shift and the beginning of another. "Midnight," Susan murmured, stretching.
"Mmmm-hmmm," Danny returned lazily. They were standing next to her car, back in the dry cleaners' parking lot. Danny re-adjusted his arms around her and gave her another kiss. After a few moments he asked "Do you really have to go?"
Susan smiled up at him, locking her fingers behind his neck. She felt so drowsy and muddle-brained; must be from all that sun, she thought. She nodded at him and snuggled as closely as she could. Danny kissed the top of her head. He was exhausted himself--his feet were like lead, and he wasn't absolutely sure that he wasn't asleep already, dreaming all this. He reluctantly let Susan go. They held hands for a moment, and then she got into her car. One last kiss through her window held them, and then she was gone.
All of the Five-0 men, Steve, Danny, Duke and Chin slept unusually long and soundly that night. Early risers all, to a man they slept past eleven in the morning. Upon awakening, each of them felt hungover, and did little that Sunday. Another night's slumber improved their aches and pains, but a curious thing had happened. As each man sat at his breakfast on Monday morning trying to clear his head and replay the course of events from the weekend, he found himself unable to account for his activities on Saturday. All, that is, except for Chin, whose wife had made several well-placed comments about Saturday night during the day on Sunday.
Later that morning they all assembled in Steve's office, ready for the day. Steve surveyed them; they look as bad as I do, he thought. "Gentlemen, you're a motley crew this morning. You look like you just got back from The Lost Weekend, except for you, Duke. You look like you're not back yet," Steve smirked. They all laughed sheepishly, wondering what the others would think if they knew just how much of that weekend was lost.
The day progressed as any other. Jenny was disappointed at not hearing any stories of romantic high jinks from the weekend, but she hadn't really expected much. Chin chuckled to himself now and then, between cleaning out his pipe and tamping down another plug. Soon it was five o'clock, and it being a slow Monday, even Steve left the office on time. He realized as he briskly strode toward his Mercury that he needed to swing by his beach house to pick up a few things. Traffic wasn't bad, and he was able to get in and out of the beach house in record time. He closed the door to the back seat and opened the driver's side door, when he caught sight of the walkway leading to the beach. There was no hurry, he thought. He closed the door and followed the path. He was soon off the grass and onto the sand. He glanced up at his house; he was still puzzled about the weekend but had given up any hope of recollection. He turned and looked out at the ocean. The surf always invigorated him, even if he was only watching it. He breathed in the sea air and turned once more for home. He almost tripped on something sticking out of the sand, something brown. Stooping to fish it out, he saw that it was a sandal, with its mate lying less than two feet away, half-buried in the sand. As he held the sandals he vaguely thought that he smelled perfume, perfume that belonged to green eyes, but he shook the impression from his mind. You find all types on the beach, he thought. He set the sandals back on the sand, and humming quietly, made his way back to his car.
Cupid was also tired--he'd been a busy little fellow. As Oahu fell far behind him, he thought that next year might find him here again. There were some unique challenges to be found on this island. Sighing contentedly, he allowed his powerful wings to carry him back home to that cloud-shrouded mountain, where curiosity of the human condition will never die.